BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE NATE BELL –
In a little less than 4 months, voters around the state will be heading to the polls to cast ballots for our next Governor, U.S. Senator, Attorney General and many more elected positions. Arkansans will also be deciding who we want to represent our district in the state Capitol and in our nation’s Capitol.
With so many highly publicized candidate campaigns competing for attention, ballot issues can easily be overlooked. Constitutional amendments are too important to be taken lightly, so over the next few weeks, I plan to take the opportunity to tell you about three amendments you will see on your November ballot.
The first addresses rule changes by state agencies, the second addresses requirements for citizen initiatives and the third deals with ethics and term limits.
This week I will explain Issue Number 1. In subsequent weeks, I plan to go into more detail on Issues 2 and 3.
Issue number 1 makes changes in the relationship between the legislature and our state agencies.
Currently, when a state agency changes a rule or regulation they go before the Arkansas Legislative Council if the legislature is not in session. ALC only “reviews” rules made by state agencies. Review is a process where an agency reports new rules and regulations to a legislative committee. Legislative approval is not necessary for an agency to proceed with a rule or regulatory change.
During a recent ALC meeting members reviewed 28 rule changes. Those changes included everything from the Department of Career Education changing the fees for GED testing to the Department of Health making changes to immunization requirements.
If approved, Issue number one would require legislative approval before new rules or regulations become effective. This rule is a significant change to the way we currently oversee state agencies and will help provide much needed oversight of state government bureaucracy. I strongly support passage of this amendment.
Please take time to study each of the ballot issues before heading to the polls and then make sure your voice is heard in November. You can find more information and the specific language of each of the proposals by visiting the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.arkansas.gov.